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At the outset of the most recent Senate meeting, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum reported that issues of academic freedom, international mobility and global fundraising were all prominent topics during her meetings with counterparts at Universitas 21, Association of American Universities and Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Munroe-Blum also congratulated the university on a host of recent achievements, such as the recent appointment of 19 new Canada Research Chairs. Finally, she informed Senate that the advisory process for a new dean of medicine was being relaunched, and that similar processes were being launched to search for a provost and vice-principal (development and alumni relations).
The first official question of the May 4 meeting came from Senator Rankin, who asked the administration to provide Senate with an update on the progress of new librarian regulations. In response, interim Provost Tony Masi acknowledged that the initial timeline for addressing this matter had been overly ambitious, and that the task force on the librarian regulations would quicken its pace over summer and the early fall.
The next order of business was a motion brought forth by Senator Al-Ghouleh, which called for the university to grant academic amnesty to all students for matters related to the student strike of March 16. In a short debate, several Senators voiced their objections, and called attention to the motion's lack of specificity. The motion was then defeated by a large margin, with numerous student Senators abstaining from the vote.
The Senate then moved into closed session for several minutes in order to approve a confidential report on the granting of honorary degrees at convocation. Following this, the body then moved on to approve a report of the Academic Policy and Planning Committee. The report included the creation of a new graduate certificate program that will train occupational therapists to aid persons who face special challenges in the operation of motor vehicles.
The Senate's final order of business was the adoption of a new package of regulations to govern the tenure process for full-time academic staff. The regulations represent the culmination of years of collaborative effort on the part of the administration and McGill Association of University Teachers. According to Interim Provost Masi, the document will serve to "introduce greater transparency and clarity into the tenure process." Several Senators described the new regulations as a welcome improvement, and the document was formally adopted with a series of minor amendments.
On a final note, dean of the Faculty of Science Alan Shaver recited a brief eulogy at the outset of the meeting to mark the passing of former McGill professor William Martin, who retired from the university in 1985. As a member of the Physics Department, Martin played a significant role in the construction of McGill's cyclotron.